Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), a joint venture between US aerospace and defence company Boeing and India’s Tata Advanced Systems Limited, announced on 16 February that it has delivered the first fuselage for six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters on order for the Indian Army.
Company officials noted that the fuselage rolled off the assembly line at its Hyderabad facility on 19 January and has been transported to Boeing’s AH-64 Apache manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona, for final assembly and systems integration.
According the TBAL, the 14,000 m2 state-of-the-art facility now employs more than 900 engineers and skilled workers and is equipped with advanced automation and manufacturing technologies. The facility was completed in 2018 and is now the sole supplier of Apache fuselages for the global market. It also produces complex aerostructures for the Boeing 737 and 777 commercial aircraft.
The company also told media that global orders for the attack helicopter, which includes 29 for Australia and 150 for the United States as well as anticipated orders from Egypt and Poland, will support fuselage and structural manufacturing work in Hyderabad till beyond 2030.
The first Indian Army AH-64E Apache helicopter is expected to be delivered by February 2024, with the remaining five delivered by April. Pilots and technical crew are already in the United States for training in anticipation of those deliveries.
Boeing had earlier completed the deliveries of 22 AH-64E Apache helicopters to the Indian Air Force in 2020.
It is believed that India will seek further orders of the type to bolster security along its expansive border with China. The Indian Army is also fielding the indigenously developed Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) Light Attack Helicopter (LCH).
by Jr Ng